Somaliland: The Unrecognized De-facto African State


Amb Kay flanked by Amb Carson tells an USIP audience that President Silanyo of Somaliland said to him in June 2014Being the Head of UNSOM we ask you not to return to Somaliland for you are in the wrong country bec

By: Yusuf M Hasan

Somaliland as we all know is In a Unique position where it is deeply entrenched in its own view and claim to independence and remains singularly unrecognized as a sovereign nation by any other Country in the world.

This is per the UN Special representative to Somalia ambassador Nicholas Kay during a briefing moderated by Amb Johnnie Carson who a special advisor to president Obama at the US Institute for Peace where issues pertaining to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Somalia-UNSOM headed by Kay were on the menu.

According to Amb Kay who also acknowledge that insecurity in Somalia might result in departure of his UNSOM and other UN Agencies the Uniqueness of Somaliland which is as a result of UN resolutions pertaining to the territorial integrity of Somalia and two decades of non –recognition does not deter it, Somaliland, from maintaining etiquettes of, and acting as a De-facto state.

The Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, who discussed the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia’s progress in executing key governance and security goals at the USIP for a lengthily period on April 22, 2014 had to be prompted about somaliland during the Q&A session.

The comments on Somaliland come after Mr. Allen Goatey from the Wilson center queried Amb Kay his relations with Somaliland, its prospects and role of prospect and role of UNSOM in Hargeisa, questions that seemed to have made the ambassador uneasy before replying.

L-R Amb Kay, President Silanyo and Dr Omar at the presidency meeting where UNSOM was denied a presence in somaliland

Expounding more on the nation he termed unique, Amb Kay was of the view that Somaliland which is undeterred by the non-recognition of neither its sovereignty nor the UN resolutions on maintaining the integrity that is territorial of Somalia, stressing that:

“In reality there is a de-facto government in Somaliland which is deeply entrenched in its sense of independence ad statehood”

While on the progress made towards bringing all the jigsaws that are several regional administrations in Somalia to the federal governance fold the ambassador was of the view that this will happen with Somaliland remaining apart, uninterested and aloof, thus exacerbating difficulties in implementing the international community’s desire and UN’s resolution of a united Somalia in the post 1991 format.

On the internationally sanctioned talks between Somaliland and Somalia now going to the sixth phase under the stewardship of Turkey, the UNSOM chief was optimistic that they will pass from the current technical level to political one thence conclusive arrangement.

As or his UNSOM role in Somaliland a country he said that h has only visited once that is in June of last year when he assumed his current position Amb Kay who informed that he was well received and taken care during his stay in Hargeisa also acknowledge that he was impressed by developments so far achieved by the unrecognized country of which UNSO is ready to support.

Ban Ki Moon’s right hand man in Somalia who upon revealing that he held very fruitful discussions with Somaliland’s parliamentarians, political parties and civil society chuckled as he touched on his last meeting which as with the Somaliland president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo at the presidency in Hargeisa.

“President Silanyo was very charming and very polite but he told me not to come to his country again” said Amb Nicholas Kay adding that president Silanyo attributed his DO NOT RETURN decision to the fact that he, Kay, was the head of UNSOM whose mandate is solely for the benefit of Somalia.

According to the Ambassador the words of president Silanyo were “Being the Head of UNSOM we ask you not to return to Somaliland for you are in the wrong country because your mandate from the UN is to promote Federalism and Constitutional review etc. in Somalia which is the neighbouring country next door”

“Addressing me as Mr. SRSG President Silanyo asked how are you going to fulfill your mandate here and how dare you think of doing it in Hargeisa” further revealed Amb Kay who though professing to understand the Somaliland view said it was a regrettable decision considering that UNSOM is not just a political oriented tool but one with development related programs like Capacity building, Security, Rule of Law and Human rights etc.

“Though from the end of my Telescope I understand the reason behind the negativity in which Somaliland discerns UNSOM, it is regrettable because the diverse development programs would have been of relevance to the government in Hargeisa and Somaliland at large” said Kay.

In Conclusion and upon revealing that the decision by president Silanyo of which he respects did not result in a complete fall-out between the two, Amb Nicholas Kay the United Nations Assistance Mission to Somalia-UNSOM chief cum UN Secretary general’s special representative for somalia was optimistic that things will turn out for the better thence re-establishment of relations in the not too far future.

Though UNSOM was denied the authority to operate and implement its mandate it continues to operate a skeleton office in Hargeisa which it inherited from its Amb Augustine Mahiga led predecessor United Nations Political Office for Somalia-UNPOS

Watch the Amb Kay Briefing to USIP “Progress or Peril in Somalia”